Aetx makes a form of self described “psychedelic drone” whose music focuses heavily on looping and layering distorted vocal samples in combination with effected instrumentation to create a rather sinister sounding atmosphere. His debut 4 track EP, “Sea Music” documents these sounds.
The EP opens with “Hallowed Bright“. An airy and soothing track comprised of bells that clang together while soft humming drones lurk beneath – one that hit me immediately as a standout track. The tastefully effected vocal sample that loops throughout takes center stage as a particularly enjoyable highlight that makes this track a great opener. The rest of the EP departs from the “airiness” of “Hallowed Bright” with the light and wispy vocals being replaced by a darker presence. Although I would have liked to hear more of the softer sounding vocals it is a well balanced decision and makes for a nice contrast.
It is Aetx’s use of samples and his ability to bring them together as a reoccurring theme throughout the album that makes his music unique for me. His samples are often used as instruments themselves, looping again and again and forming an identifiable rhythm. On “No Mind” a man’s voice can be heard, down tuned and unintelligibly repeating itself as though to create a rhythm while the sample of another man’s voice rambles on, preaching about spiritual self, materialism, and soul. The sample seems so perfectly in place and so relevant to the music Aetx makes. It is this ability, his way of structuring these sounds mainly using the vocal samples as the foundation for his songs that makes the music so arresting. However, ironically enough it is also one of the negative attributes of his music as well. All of these chopped up samples and noises are intriguing and fun to explore at first but become tedious after hearing them repeat over and over. I especially felt this way when listening to the track “Arm Yourself“. The sample is so high in the mix that it became distracting from some of the other elements of the music leading it to become somewhat grating to listen to after hearing it repeat itself so many times. This minor problem, however, was not enough to keep me from enjoying the rest of the EP.
On the final track, “Execution” Aetx continues to show his penchant for textures and layered vocal samples. The track is comprised of industrial clanging all the while something chaotic begins to brood beneath. Intensity builds and as the track progresses people can be heard arguing, erupting in a torrent of screams and shouts. If there is any indication that Aetx knows how to evoke a response from the listener it is on this track which ends the EP on a rather chilling note.
It is these vocal samples of flawed beings endlessly repeating themselves, these humming drones and shrill noises that claustrophobically lurk beneath, and this attention to detail that cohesively brings together all of these elements that makes “Sea Music” an enjoyable experience. All in all Aetx’s first EP is a solid debut brimming with unique sounds and character.
Overall Rating: 7.9/10
Favorite Track: “Hallowed Bright”
Recommended: Those who enjoy drone with pop sensibilities. Fans of artists on Triangles Records.